Testing Times: not everyone thrilled at DVSA's test station closures

Not everyone is thrilled by closures of goods vehicle testing stations in favour of ATFs, with some operators complaining they are now having to travel much further.

The DVSA’s testing transformation programme (TTP) has resulted in some operators travelling many more miles for their annual tests - and even paying out more in fees when they get there,.

Although TTP has created more winners than losers, with most operators now able to rely on an authorised testing facility (ATF) closer to their base, CM has spoken to operators who, through no fault of their own, are having to schedule longer trips to testing stations.

Mick Harvey, a transport co-ordinator at W Clifford Watts in Bridlington, east Yorkshire, says it is having to send vehicles over to Hull, after its local goods vehicle testing station (GVTS) in Beverley closed down and availability at Scarborough’s GVTS started to dry up.

“It’s a situation that’s causing many, many hauliers in [our region] to now be travelling miles to obtain an HGV test,” Harvey says. “We are not moaning for moaning’s sake, but the issue in our area is that we are very rural, with many hauliers scattered around and it’s this which is the major factor.

“There are no ATFs around the Scarborough, Malton, Driffield or Bridlington areas and Scarborough GVTS is now on three days testing.”

He adds: “Talking to people they all seem to think that there has not been enough time spent looking into the wider impact this is going to have on local business.”

This situation won’t affect everyone. According to the FTA, there are now more than 400 ATF sites around the country, taking on the work of around 100 government test stations before TTP started.

But it does mean there is a postcode lottery, with some businesses struggling to find the time, manpower and money to send their vehicles and trailers to test.

Picture: the then road minsiter Mike Penning opened the 400th ATF lane back in January 2014.

West Road boosted by TopUsed programme

Fledgling haulier West Road Haulage has used MAN’s TopUsed programme to help get the business off the ground.

The firm, founded by husband and wife Charlie and Sally West in September 2014, and based in Burton-on-Trent, has been operating with two MAN TopUsed 44 tonne TGX tractor units.

It has now added two brand new 26 tonne TGM rigids and a 7.5 TGL rigid to its fleet.

The haulier financed the vehicles through MAN Financial Services and has taken a repair and maintenance contract for all of them.

Swadlincote-based Jeffreys Vehicle Services prepared the MAN TopUsed trucks and all the pre-delivery inspections for the new vehicles.

. Charlie and Sally West with MAN sales executive Paul Hollamby.